While not always a good idea, squashing bugs is the perfect plan when it comes to these garden pests.
If you planted squash in spring, you may be seeing squash bugs in July. Squash bugs (Anasa tristis) use piercing mouthparts to suck plant sap from members of the cucurbit family. This includes melons, pumpkins, summer and winter squash plants.
Damage caused by squash bugs
Plants infested with squash bugs exhibit speckled leaves that begin to wilt as feeding increases. This wilting may resemble the bacterial wilt spread by cucumber beetles. Squash bugs may also feed on and kill young fruit.
How to control squash bugs
Sanitation is the best squash bug control method. These pests overwinter under plant debris. You can take advantage of this behavior by leaving small planks out in the garden. In the morning, look underneath the planks and kill any squash bugs found underneath. Also, companion planting research has shown that planting marigold, nasturtium, mint, and radish nearby can repel squash bugs. Trellising your cucurbits can make the environment less hospitable to squash bugs.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!